The month of August was not kind to Yasiel Puig, as he hit .216, which is his lowest batting average for any month this season. Although it’s only been one game, turning the calendar to September didn’t come with immediate improvement.
Puig’s mired in what’s likely been the worst slump in his young career. He’s just 3-for-34 in the last 10 games he’s played in and went through an 0-for-22 stretch. Sandwiched between Puig’s poor showings at the plate is a game he sat out and another where he served as a pinch-hitter.
In recent games, manager Don Mattingly has moved his center fielder to different spots in the batting order in an effort to help kickstart him. On Monday, Puig hit sixth in a decision Mattingly hoped would alleviate pressure, according to Michael Lananna of MLB.com:
Just hopefully he’ll relax and get back to what he does,” Mattingly said. “Wanted to take little pressure off of him and just allow him to be in a spot with a little less pressure.”
Mattingly compared Puig to Adrian Gonzalez and said the team was looking for Puig to regain confidence:
We talk about it with Adrian [Gonzalez]. You see it with him. He struggles for a little while, next thing you know, boom, he’s off and running. You see the confidence come back in guys, and that’s what we’re looking for.”
Puig failed to reach base in his first three at-bats before drawing a two-out walk in the ninth inning that nearly led to a Dodgers rally. Perhaps negatively impacting Puig’s ability to shake free of his slump is his tendency to swing at the first pitch.
While Puig is hitting .357 this season on the first pitch, his success in those situations as of late has been nonexistent. Without Puig hitting well and Hanley Ramirez also struggling at the plate, it removes two threats from the Dodgers lineup and will make fighting off the San Francisco Giants that much more difficult if neither player is able to regain form.
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